Dialouge: Gudio response > invitation – Israel for all its flaws is normally justified in their actions.

K, but there would be no convincing YOUR facts will OBVIOUSLY lead you down the path to validate YOUR side…while mine would as well….

The difference would be WHERE the information came from.
I responded solely to your blog because sometimes…i HAVE to stick up for the little guy….Israel.
Palestine HAS the support of Terrorist, and the Mid East countries in the 1st place! Israel…half-ass backing from the U.S. and a few other countries that support them for other…unforseen reasons.
So i was astounded that you would ask Who will save Palestine….gimme a a break…
A better title would have been “Why do the Mid East nations offer verbal support but no action…” Now THATS a good question.
I am NOT jewish by the way or of Israeli decent. I am actually Italian and became interested in this whole subject when about 2 years the EU conducted a study of the most dangerous nations in the Eastern hemisphere….most countries said Israel.

There is alot to be said about that….when’s the last time you heard about Suicide Jews you know….
And of course there is more, like the recent prisoner exchanges that Israel has honored but Hamas/Palestine has not. Basic human decency is consistently lacking in Mid east affairs, but I never see (though sometimes) Israel dishonoring what they claim they will do…visa vie prisoner exchanges….the list goes on.

You have your views and you will NEVER see the other side…thats evident on your site and the pictures you “selected” to show (believe me there are PLENTY horrific pictures to counter your smiling IDF guys over a dead Palestinian) and I have seen both sides and I (in my gut, my soul and heart) believe that Israel for all its flaws is normally justified in their actions.

Take care…

Dialouge: Response > GUIDO – who’s gunna save little ol’ Israell?

Hi Guido,

Thanx for not only droping by my blog among milions but also bless it with a comment. I know when I approached you with the idea of a conversation you said that ”you are not a debater but a vorisous reader”. I am not hater but a debater so I hope you will join me…

Lets first adress your statment that my blog ” is propaganda to the fullest”. If u look up the meaning of ”propaganda” it will say ” “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”

So now if my blog is propaganda to the fullest (like maximum?) then it´s forfilling it´s basic sense – presents information in order to influence its audience (Is that why U got all worked up?). But that would not make my apporach any diffrent from so many other blogs in that catagory so that´s why I also post articals about Israel/Palestine from diffrent camps, that is Pro/Anti Israel/Palestine. Mind you that propaganda can also be a voice for the critic corner since the purpose is constant. Now if my blog is still too much for you then give me examples of other websites that claims as I do to clearly take one side (I AM ANTI-ISREAL) and have articals from diffrent sources/camps? That would be a great reference for futhur posting…

Regarding PROPAGANDA, plz take a look at the PROPAGANDA MODEL that now has a new updated filter to it: terrorism and Islam. Could that help you understand your islamophobia? Which is the fundamental Muslim/Palestine doctorine? Let me be bold and jump to one ”maybe” answers of yours:

Fundamental Muslim = Iran “threat” of wiping out Israel of the map…
Plz read this to update your history

It´s funny how can you can claim that I haven´t done my research but that makes sense when one realize that you first stating that my information/opinion/blog is propaganda. Nowhere do you touch the it just float over jugding. Does it take one to name one? Have I ever stated that I have researched the articals? Guido you are little propgandanist with your own ”propaganda technique”. But which ones?

  • Ad Hominem: A Latin phrase which has come to mean attacking your opponent, as opposed to attacking their argumen
  • Argumentum ad nauseam: This argument approach uses tireless repetition of an idea. An idea, especially a simple slogan, that is repeated enough times, may begin to be taken as the truth. This approach works best when media sources are limited and controlled by the propagator.
  • Black-and-White fallacy: Presenting only two choices, with the product or idea being propagated as the better choice. (e.g., “You are either with us, or you are with the enemy”)
  • Oversimplification: Favorable generalities are used to provide simple answers to complex social, political, economic, or military problems.
  • Stereotyping or Name Calling or Labeling: This technique attempts to arouse prejudices in an audience by labeling the object of the propaganda campaign as something the target audience fears, hates, loathes, or finds undesirable. For instance, reporting on a foreign country or social group may focus on the stereotypical traits that the reader expects, even though they are far from being representative of the whole country or group; such reporting often focuses on the anecdotal.
  • So Guido, tell me who were there first. Tell me who has been there (Palestine) the longest? Tell me also why ones right has to be imposed on others. And don´t stop when coming to basic human rights & justice perspective to massdeportation, slaughter, cleansing… (plz, give me ref. of fact)

    It´s quite frustrating to hear that you think my blog is soo ”wildly un-updated”. I try to do my best in find the articals and stuff from diffrent corners and spend hours doing it. But apperently not enough. Now… is there anything you are missing? Why not go through all articals first and then come back with some suggestions.

    ”Just like Australia was at one time a place England sent criminals and hardened military generals”. What do you mean? What England did with it´s deportations was unloading the “mother island” to another island that was ”empty”. A very colonial thing and we all know that history from two perspectives – ”the white man” modernisation & continues suffering and rasicism of the aborigionals. Just like the creation of Israel was an European colonial move (no the bible has no legal claim in this case) and the start of two histories; jewish state and Al Nakba.
    Surley that is not the pararell you meant?

    ” Just because Israel does not practice Islam, doesn’t mean the whole mid east needs to bash them”.
    Wow, Guido, this has nothing to do with Islam. The conflict has to do with rethoric, land property and ideology. Plz again see the PROPAGANDA MODEL. And you do know that there are and have always been christians and jews living in muslim countries like Iran, Egypt, Jordan aso… Right? Islam is not a religion of hate or that dosen´t tolerate other religions. Now, the christian history has a much bloodier history in with it´s crusaders and missionaries… All for the love of the white God.

    By the way, who is bashing who? Who last year bomded illegally and totally unjustified the shit out of Lebanon? Who has over 300 neuclear weapons and other weapons of massdestruction? Who is building illegal seperation walls that nicly circles outside water resources? Who has illegally over 10 000 prisoners in jails without any real trials? Who is stealing land and water? Who is occupying who? Who have been behind bombings of foreign entities aso? Do you really want me to continue?

    Hate comes in so many shapes, wordings, clothes and beats. Why do you think that Israel or proIsraelis like you are imune to it and it only applies to Arabs/Palestines? Is it something to do with Islam according to you? Or is so that when one knows ALL the fact and history that just makes you right and nothing else?

    So finally to your question: ”I wanna know, who’s gunna save little ol’ Israell.” Well BIG ”apologist” DADDY, the USA, and the juedo¬-christian organisations ofcourse. In combinations with “smart bombs” and other killing devices. But If you ask me I would say that these brave young men and women in Israel is what´s gonna save Israel!

    Really hope you will bless my blog with another comment Guido. It´s not by hating or Ad Hominem statements that there can be coexistance. Yes I am for peace. One way to practise peace and make that happen is by having a dialouge so that all experiance and values can be aired. What are you for? And how do you think peace works….

    pz – don´t miss this great posting by Mark Glenn!

    : m

    Chief Justice: IDF defied High Court, let Hebron wall stand

    The Israel Defense Forces deliberately delayed implementing a High Court of Justice ruling to dismantle a concrete barrier near Hebron, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said Monday.

    Beinisch was referring to a 2006 ruling, which instructed the army to – within six months – remove a concrete wall running along Route 317 south of Hebron. The ruling followed a petition by the Association for Civil Right in Israel and Arab inhabitants of nearby villages.

    The court reexamined the issue Monday, after petitioners complained that the state had not carried out the court’s instructions.

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    “The court ruled to remove the wall. This is no way to treat the court,” Beinisch told the state prosecutors. “The state issued an order on the matter. Why was it not followed? I am struggling to understand the method that you chose to pursue.”

    Justice Ayala Procaccia added that “if this is how the state treats court rulings, what can we expect from the ordinary citizen? What message are you interested in sending here?”

    The court’s ruling last December accepted the petitioners’ claims that the barrier, 82 centimeters tall and 41 kilometers long, was an attempt to defy the court’s previous ruling, which prevented the state from constructing the separation fence along the road.

    According to petitioners, the smaller concrete wall was set up to obstruct Palestinian shepherds from crossing the road with their herds of livestock. The petitioners claim this was done to keep the area east of Route 317 under the control of Jewish settlers.

    The court rejected the state’s claims that the barrier was meant to protect drivers and prevent them from sliding off the road, and gave the army six months to dismantle it. The court added that the state could find alternative solutions, but only after the barrier was dismantled.

    However, 48 hours before the six-month period the court had afforded it to dismantle the wall, the state requested an extension, explaining it had come up with an alternative solution. This solution had in fact already been rejected by the court: The defense establishment proposed to put gaps in the wall at fixed intervals of 200 meters.

    Meanwhile, the petitioners requested that the court hold the state in contempt for failing to meet the court’s deadline for removing the wall. The court is expected to rule on the matter today. Sources who are involved in the case said they expected the court to order the state to destroy the wall immediately.

    Surprisingly, former adviser to the defense minister, Hagai Alon, who sided with the calls to dismantle the wall, said its destruction would be unfortunate. “This unnecessary barrier cost hundreds of millions of shekels that came out of the budget for no reason, because the IDF tried to cite security needs to explain a political move,” he said.

    Ref: Haaretz

    White Supremacy and the Jena Six – Southern Discomfort

    On a late summer day in 2006, in Jena, Louisiana, a Black high school student asked permission to sit beneath the “white tree” in front of the town’s high school. It was unspoken law that this shady area was for whites only during school breaks. But a student asked, and the vice principal said nothing was stopping them. So Black students sat underneath the tree, challenging the established authority of segregation and racism. The next day, hanging from the tree, were three ropes, in school colors, each tied to make a noose.

    The events set in motion by those nooses led to a schoolyard fight. And that fight led to the conviction, on June 28, 2007, of a Black student at Jena High School for charges that can bring up to 22 years in prison. Mychal Bell, a 16-year-old sophomore football star at the time he was arrested, was convicted by an all-white jury, without a single witness being called on his behalf. And five more Black students in Jena still face serious charges stemming from the fight.

    * * *
    Caseptla Bailey, a Black community leader and mother of one of the Black students, told the London Observer, “To us those nooses meant the KKK, they meant, ‘Niggers, we’re going to kill you, we’re going to hang you till you die.'” The attack was brushed off as a “youthful stunt.” The three white students responsible, given only three days of in-school suspension.

    In response to the incident, several Black students, among them star players on the football team, staged a sit-in under the tree. The principal reacted by bringing in the white district attorney, Reed Walters, and 10 local police officers to an all-school assembly. Marcus Jones, Mychal Bell’s father, described the assembly to Revolution:

    “Now remember, with everything that goes on at Jena High School, everybody’s separated. The only time when Black and white kids are together is in the classroom and when they playing sports together. During lunch time, Blacks sit on one side, whites sit on the other side of the cafeteria. During canteen time, Blacks sit on one side of the campus, whites sit on the other side of the campus.

    “At any activity done in the auditorium-anything-Blacks sit on one side, whites on the other side, okay? The DA tells the principal to call the students in the auditorium. They get in there. The DA tells the Black students, he’s looking directly at the Black students-remember, whites on one side, Blacks on the other side-he’s looking directly at the Black students. He told them to keep their mouths shut about the boys hanging their nooses up. If he hears anything else about it, he can make their lives go away with the stroke of his pen.”

    DA Walters concluded that the students should “work it out on their own.” Police officers roamed the halls of the school that week, and tensions simmered throughout the fall semester.

    In November, as football season came to a close, the main school building was mysteriously burned to the ground. This traumatic event seemed to bring to the surface the boiling racial tensions in Jena.

    On a Friday night, Robert Bailey, a 17-year-old Black student and football player, was invited to a dance at a hall considered to be “white.” When he walked in, without warning he was punched in the face, knocked on the ground and attacked by a group of white youth. Only one of the white youth was arrested-he was ultimately given probation and asked to apologize.

    The night after that, a 22-year-old white man, along with two friends, pulled a gun on Bailey and two of his friends at a local gas station. The Black youths wrestled the gun from him to prevent him from using it. They were arrested and charged with theft, and the white man went free.

    The following Monday students returned to school. In the midst of a confrontation between a white student, Justin Barker, and a Black student, Robert Bailey-where Bailey was taunted for having been beaten up that weekend-a chaotic fray ensued. Barker was allegedly knocked down, punched, and kicked by a number of Black students. He was taken to the hospital for a few hours and was seen out socializing later that evening.

    Six Black students-Robert Bailey Junior, Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, Mychal Bell, and a still unidentified minor, allegedly the attackers of Justin Barker-were arrested, charged with attempted second degree manslaughter, and expelled from school.

    White Supremacy Then and Now

    This did not all happen in the “Red Summer” of 1919 when Jim Crow segregation thrived, and Blacks in major cities faced race riots that raged throughout the country. This did not occur in the 1950s after Brown vs. Board of Education was decided in 1954 and young children faced angry white mobs to make history in desegregating public schools. This did not happen in the summer of 1955 when, in Money, Mississippi, a vibrant Black youth by the name of Emmett Till was brutally murdered for whistling at a white woman. This did not occur in 1960, when on February 1 four Black college students sat in at a “white only” lunch counter, demanding service and launching the civil rights movement to another level. This did not happen during the period 1865 to 1965 during which 3,446 Black people were lynched in the United States.

    This is now. When three white students in Jena committed this hate crime, hanging three nooses from the “white tree,” they evoked the ugly history of slavery, segregation, lynching, and police brutality to threaten the lives of Black students at their school. The “white tree” stands in Jena, Louisiana. The Jena 6, as the Black students have come to be called, are in prison and on trial for defending themselves against white supremacist attacks.

    The Jena 6 were arrested in December 2006. The outrageously high bail ranged from $70,000-$138,000, leaving most of them stuck in jail for months.

    The first student to go to trial this June was Mychal Bell, who waited behind bars, unable to post bail. Like a scene from the Jim Crow South, he was judged by an all-white jury, in a courtroom run by a white judge. Whites sat with Justin Barker and his white lawyer on one side. Blacks sat with defendant Mychal Bell, who was represented by a court-appointed attorney.

    The prosecutor called 16 witnesses, mostly white students. The court-appointed defense attorney called none. Accounts of the incident, who was involved, and who did what, vary highly, including whether Mychal Bell was the one who first punched Justin Barker. Barker’s attorney argued that Bell’s tennis shoes on his feet were a “dangerous weapon.” The trial was so outrageous that when a Louisiana TV station polled viewers, 62% said that Mychal Bell was not getting a fair trial.

    Mychal Bell was convicted of two felonies: aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery. He faces up to 22 years in prison. The remaining five defendants await their trials.

    Standing Up to Racism

    Few people in the United States have heard of the case of the Jena 6. But the trial was covered by the French newspaper Le Monde, and the BBC aired a documentary on the case. The London Observer reported on the Jena 6 story.

    Family, friends, and supporters of the young men are protesting and struggling to free the Jena 6. The Black community in Jena and people from across Louisiana and Texas have come together to support the Jena 6 and fight the injustice of their trials. People have put their lives on hold, and churches have opened their doors. The Jena 6 and their supporters are defiant and continue to be under attack. Marcus Jones described the most recent event:

    “Thursday night we had an NAACP meeting here at the church. The next day, in the morning, the pastor goes to his church and somebody just clean ran through his church yard, knocked his sign down, ran over back and forth on it with they truck, and just took off, you know. People report it to the police (laughs). What good they gonna do here, I don’t know.”

    The majority of Jena’s estimated 385 Black people live in an area of town known as Ward 10. Many homes there are trailers or wooden shacks. Rubbish lies in the streets. Only two Black families live in the all white middle class suburban area of Jena. An article in the Observer recounts how one of them bought a house: “A teacher from Jena High had enough money to buy his way in. But when he arrived local estate agents refused to show him a ‘white’ property even though several were advertised in the local paper (‘they’re all under contract,’ the agents lied). The teacher eventually went to see one white owner and offered him cash. ‘The guy preferred green [dollars] to Black, so I got the property,’ laughed the teacher, ‘but since we moved in three years ago we haven’t been invited by a single neighbor.'”

    The “white tree” stands in Jena, Louisiana today while entire neighborhoods and precious lives in the 9th ward of New Orleans are left wasting away, even as the more profitable and less Black areas of the city are rebuilt. It stands while a father, a mother, a fiancée, a child, and many friends are still feeling the devastating loss of Sean Bell who was murdered by the NYPD. It stands while the Rutgers University basketball team gets subjected to racist and sexist verbal assault from a national talk show host. While the N word is spouted with rage by a comedian.

    In a world such as this, there’s nothing left to do but pull this tree up by its roots and get rid of it for good.

    Ref: Counterpunch, Alice Woodward

    Alice Woodward writes for Revolution.

    For more on the Jena 6 visit Friends of Justice at http://friendsofjustice.wordpress.com/

    Guns, Foundations and Free Trade – How the Far Right Targets Africa

    When President George W. Bush announced the formation of a military command for Africa (AFRICOM) this past February, it came as no surprise to the Heritage Foundation. The powerful right-wing organization designed it.
    The Heritage Foundation, founded in 1973 by ultra-conservatives Paul Weyrich and Joseph Coors and funded by such right-wing mainstays as the Scaife Foundation, has a strong presence in the Bush Administration. While not as influential as the older and richer American Enterprise Institute, it has a higher profile when it comes to Africa policy.

    Back in October 2003, James Jay Carafano and Nile Gardner of the Heritage Foundation laid out a blueprint for how to use military power to dominate that vast continent.

    “Creating an African Command,” write the two analysts in a Heritage Foundation study entitled U.S. Military Assistance for Africa: A Better Solution, “would go a long way toward turning the Bush Administration’s well aimed strategic priorities for Africa into a reality.”

    While the Bush Administration says the purpose of AFRICOM will be humanitarian aid and “security cooperation,” not “war fighting,” says Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. The Heritage analysts were a tad blunter about the application of military power: “Pre-emptive strikes are justified on grounds of self-defenseAmerica must not be afraid to employ its forces decisively when vital national interests are threatened.”

    Carafano and Gardner are also quite clear what those “vital interests” are: “The United States is likely to draw 25 percent of its oil from West Africa by 2015, surpassing the volume imported from the Persian Gulf.”

    Carafano is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, a former Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army, and a Senior Fellow on Defense and Homeland Security for Heritage. Gardner was a foreign policy researcher for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and is the current director of the Margaret Thatcher Center For Freedom.

    The two also proposed increasing military aid to African regimes friendly to the U.S. and, using the language of pop psychology, confronting “enabler” and “slacker” states that threaten U.S. security. “Enabler” states, according to the authors, are those-like Libya-that directly aid terrorists and “slacker” states are failed nations-like Somalia-where terrorists can base their operations.

    Their recommendations are almost precisely what the Administration settled on, albeit the White House wrapped its initiative in soothing words like “cooperation,” “humanitarian aid,” and “stability.”

    In a sense, AFRICOM simply formalized the growing U.S. military presence on the continent.

    The U.S .currently deploys 1,800 soldiers in Djibouti as part of its Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. Special Forces and air units operating from Djibouti were instrumental in Ethiopia’s recent invasion of Somalia.

    According to a recent Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. has bases in Gabon, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Sao Tome/Principe, Senegal, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. The Sao Tome/Principe base lies 124 miles off the coast of Guinea and the oil fields of Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

    Through the Trans-Sahal Initiative aimed at supposed terrorist groups operating in the Sahara, the U.S. has roped Mali, Chad, Niger and Mauritania into an alliance. Chad and Mauritania have significant oil and gas deposits.

    And, lastly, the Pentagon’s Africa Contingency Operation Training and Assistance program supplies weapons and training to Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

    Exactly as the Heritage proposal recommends, the U.S. has recruited client regimes like Ethiopia, Chad and Uganda that are willing to support U.S. policy goals. A case in point is the recent U.S. sponsored invasion of Somalia, where Ethiopian troops overthrew the Islamist regime and Ugandan soldiers helped occupy the country.

    Controlling resources for U.S. corporations is a major impetus behind AFRICOM, but it is also part of the Bush Administration’s fixation with China. The Chinese “threat” in Africa has been a particular focus for both Heritage and the American Enterprise Institute. The later held a conference last year entitled “Beijing Safari: The Challenge of China’s growing ties to Africa.”

    Peter Brooke, Heritage’s “Africa hand,” has led the way in hyping the dangers China is said to pose in Africa. Brooke, a Navy Reserve commander, former Republican advisor on Asian affairs for the House Committee on International Relations, and current New York Post columnist, spares no bombast in his alarm over Beijing’s interest in Africa.

    “Amid festering concerns about China’s burgeoning global power, Beijing has firmly set its sights on expanding its influence in China,” writes Brooke in a Heritage analysis titled Into Africa: China’s Grab for Influence and Oil. Brooke argues China’s interest in the continent is “a throwback to the Maoist revolutionary days of the 1960s and 1970s.”

    Certainly China is active in Africa. Some 30 percent of China’s oil comes from the continent, and Beijing has invested in the energy industries of Nigeria, Angola and Sudan.

    China has also opened up the trade spigot. In 2006, Beijing dispensed $8 billion in aid to Angola, Nigeria and Mozambique alone. In comparison the World Bank gave $2.3 billion in aid for all of sub-Saharan Africa.
    Military power is not the only arrow in the U.S. quiver. And once again the Heritage Foundation has played a key role in promoting the Bush Administration’s other strategy for controlling Africa: free trade.

    In a major Heritage Lecture, entitled “How Economic Freedom is Central to Development in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Brett Schaefer of the Thatcher Center, argues that developing countries must lower their trade barriers in order to grow. The Bush Administration’s Millennium Challenge Account ties aid to such reduced barriers.

    But as University of the Philippines sociologist Walden Bello, director of Focus on the Global South, points out in his analysis of last year’s failed Doha talks on international trade, “free trade” is a Trojan horse that ends up overwhelming the economies of developing countries. “From the very start, the aim of the developed countries [in the Doha talks] was to push for greater market openings from the developing countries while making minimal concessions of their own.”

    The recent Doha talks in Potsdam, Germany, collapsed when the U.S. and the European Union refused to compromise on tariffs.

    Because of subsidies, U.S. wheat sells for 46 percent below production costs, and corn at 20 percent below cost. The World Bank and Oxfam estimates that the developed countries’ trade barriers cost developing countries $100 billion a year, twice what the latter receive in economic assistance.

    The impact of such one-way free trade has been to collapse rural economies. U.S. subsidized corn has driven some two million southern Mexican farmers off their land, accelerated rural poverty, and helped fuel immigration to the U.S. American subsidized soybeans and rice respectively control 99 percent and 80 percent of the Mexican market.

    Such subsidies have a particularly devastating impact in Africa, where 50 percent of a country’s GNP may be in agriculture. A recent study by Oxfam estimated that cutting American cotton subsidies would raise world prices by 10 percent.

    A 2005 study by the World Bank found that while the effect of developing countries dismantling trade barriers would increase their income by $16 billion over 10 years, that would translate to a grand total of two dollars a year for the world’s one billion poor. And there might well be a net loss.

    “For example,” says Bello, a recent United Nations trade and development study “predicts that the losses in tariff income for developing countries under Doha could range between $32 billion and $63 billion annually. This loss in government revenues-the source of developing country health care, education, water provision, and sanitation budgets-is two to four times the mere $16 billion in benefits projected by the World Bank.”

    Bello cites research by the Carnegie Endowment and the European Commission suggesting that the impact of free trade on Africa will be profound. “The majority in Africa,” says Aileen Kwa of Focus on the Global South, “will be faced with losses in both agricultural and industrial goods,” and small African farmers will be unable to compete, exactly what happened to small corn farmers in Mexico.

    Indeed, Bello points to a study by the United Nations Development Program that suggests the best strategy for developing countries is exactly the opposite of the Heritage Foundation’s formula. According to the analysis, countries like Japan and South Korea were successful because, rather than embracing “free trade,” they protected their industries from outside competition.

    The AFRICOM initiative is creating some unease in both the U.S. and Africa. “Some initial reaction to the locating of the African Command on the continent has been negative,” says the Congressional Research Service, because some African countries see it as a device to increase troops there.
    Nicole Lee, executive director of the TransAfrica Forum, called AFRICOM “neither wise nor productive,” and suggests that the U.S. should instead focus on “development assistance and respect for sovereignty.”

    But not so long as U.S. policy in Africa is driven by think tanks like the Heritage Foundation.

    Ref: Counterpunch, Conn Hallinan

    Conn Hallinan is an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, a winner of a Project Censored Award, and did his PhD dissertation on the history of insurrectionary organizations in Ireland.

    The Killing of Khalid W. Hassan

    Arbil, Iraq.

    An Iraqi journalist working for The New York Times was shot and killed in Baghdad yesterday, 24 hours after an Iraqi photographer and driver, working for the London-based news agency Reuters, were killed by fire from a US helicopter.

    Iraq has become an extraordinarily dangerous place for journalists, with 110 killed since the US-led invasion in 2003 along with 40 media support workers, more than 80 per cent of them Iraqi. The death toll of 110 in four years compares with 63 in the 20 years of the Vietnam War.

    The casualties among Iraqis working for the media are so high because Iraqi insurgents suspect journalists of working against them. US forces have never, in practice, accepted that Iraqis taking film or video footage of combat are simply carrying out their job.

    The New York Times journalist killed yesterday was Khalid W Hassan, 23, who was shot by gunmen on his way to work. He called his office to say that he had been stopped by a checkpoint in the Sadiyah district of Baghdad. Half an hour later, he called his mother and said “I’ve been shot.”

    A statement from The New York Times said: “The circumstances of his death remain unclear at this time.” He may not have been shot as a journalist but because the gunmen at the checkpoint deemed him to belong to an opposing community.

    The Reuters photographer who was killed on Thursday was Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and his driver Saeed Chmagh, 40. They died in eastern Baghdad during a US raid on a Shia district, bringing to six the number of Reuters staff killed in Iraq since 2003.

    The killings also illustrate how many Iraqi civilians are killed by US troops spraying fire in all directions in thickly populated areas.

    Unlike many incidents in which Iraqis are killed by US soldiers, the manner of the Reuters staffers’ deaths is known fairly precisely.

    The US military says US and Iraqi forces engaged “a hostile force” and, after coming under fire, called for air support that killed nine insurgents and two civilians.

    The police and witnesses tell a different story. A preliminary police report from al-Rashad police station said Mr Noor-Eldeen and Mr Chmagh were killed along with nine others by a “random American bombardment.”

    One witness, Karim Shindakh, said: “The aircraft began striking randomly and people were wounded. A Kia [mini-van] arrived to take them away. They hit the Kia and killed … the two journalists.”

    US soldiers then took away Mr Noor-Eldeen’s camera equipment. TV footage shows a hole in the roof of the van.

    Reuters has long complained of hostile action against its staff by US troops. A letter from the agency’s editor-in-chief, David Schlesinger, to Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, dated 26 September, 2005, complains of “a long parade of disturbing incidents whereby professional journalists have been killed, wrongfully detained, and/or illegally abused by US forces in Iraq”.

    Journalists arrested by US troops frequently suffered physical and sexual abuse. The letter says: ‘On January 2-5, 2004, three Reuters personnel were beaten, taunted, and degraded by US forces while being arbitrarily detained at FOB [Forward Operating Base] Volturno and St Mere near Fallujah.

    “Soldiers laughed, taunted, abused, photographed and degraded them by forcing them to insert their fingers up their anuses and then lick them.”

    The four Reuters journalists killed earlier in Iraq by US troops were Taryas Protsyuk, a cameraman killed when a tank fired into the Palestine Hotel on 8 April 2003; Mazen Dana, a cameraman shot dead outside Abu Ghraib prison later that year; Dhia Najim, another cameraman, shot by a sniper in 2004; and Whaleed Khaled, a soundman, killed in 2005.

    Ref: Counterpunch, Patrick Cockburn

    Patrick Cockburn is the author of ‘The Occupation: War, resistance and daily life in Iraq’, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award for best non-fiction book of 2006.

    Israel’s Dirty Little Secret – The Threat of American Public Opinion

    It’s easy enough to read in the American press about Hama’s commitment to destroying Israel, or about the endless threats Israelis suffer under the onslaught of Palestinian suicide attacks and Hezbollah’s aggression. American progressives, and anyone else who honestly looks at American media and political commentary, have long known that racist caracitures of Arabs and Muslims are the order of the day in the United States. Whether it’s racist stereotypes promulgated in films such as Disney’s Aladdin or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s True Lies, or vitriolic commentary and op-eds within elite newspapers and television, American media-political culture has long prided itself in demonizing Arabs and Muslims. Typically there is little effort to even make a distinguishment between the two. Popular images portray Arabs and Muslims as hell-bent on violence, religious fanatacism, and the destruction of the U.S. and its allies (Israel most specifically).

    There is, of course, a lengthy record of academic studies committed to exposing such contempt and xenophobia in American culture. In his important work, Covering Islam: How the Media and Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World, Edward Said chronicles the “highly exaggerated stereotyping and belligerent hostility” directed against Muslims within the American mainstream. In contrast, Said speaks of “Israel’s avowedly religious characteristics [as] rarely mentioned in the Western press: Only recently have there been overt references to Israeli religious fanaticism.” Following Said, other scholars have focused upon media misrepresentations of Arab and Muslim peoples. In Islamic Peril: Media and Global Violence, Karim Karim emphasizes how “Muslim terrorism” is often a focus of media commentary and analysis, while Israel is seen “as an island of Western values in a sea of Arab Muslim barbarism.”

    Although the backlash against these forms of media and political racism has begun to gain steam amongst critics of the U.S. and Israel, this has not stopped the American press from promoting a fictional American love affair amongst the American public and Israel. After 9/11, the New York Times claimed erroneously that American sympathy with Israel had risen to new highs, when in reality it was slightly less supportive (see Eric Boehlert, “The Times Misrepresents the American Public’s Support for Israel, Salon.com). In a late 2006 story, the Boston Globe reported that there has been an increase in support for outsourcing job services to Israel in light of the country’s “vast pool of highly educated workers who are native English speakers and share a cultural affinity with the West” (Matthew Kalman, “US Firms Turn to Israel as Outsourcing Alternative,” November 24, 2006).

    American pundits also fall back on the alleged ties of cultural affinity between Americans and Israelis. Neoconservative Daniel Pipes claims that the “special feeling” amongst Americans “for Israel translates directly into policy. While the US public dislikes foreign aid in general, polls show that ‘most Americans strongly support’ economic and military aid to Israel.” Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby celebrates “staunch American support” and “solidarity” for Israel, claiming that “only someone far outside the American mainstream would insist that ‘Israel’s past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians,’ or that US policy is engineered through a Zionist ‘strangelhold on Congress.'”

    Jacoby is certainly right that those within the mainstream press would not present such critical views of Israel, but he couldn’t be more wrong about the American public’s supposed support for Israel. Unconditional support for Israel is relegated primarily to American elites, who, although a tiny minority of the U.S. public, speak with the loudest voice due to their dominance of American political, economic, and media institutions. The commitment of this loud minority to demonizing those who criticize Israel (a category which could easily be defined to include the majority of Americans) is as impressive today as it has ever been.

    Unequivocal elite support for Israel, while a major roadblock to serious peace efforts in the Middle East, is hardly beyond challenge or correction. Activists and progressives throughout the U.S. need to learn to better utilize their biggest strength: an American public which shares major reservations about supporting Israel and its war crimes. Taking our criticisms of Israel directly to the people is the most effective way to resist Israeli aggression and terrorism, as well as American support for such actions.

    While it is true that the American public has often shown strong sympathy for Israel, such sympathy is nowhere near as supportive of Israel as American propagandists would have us believe. At best, American support for Israeli actions (such as the attack against Lebanon) has been split; at worst, it has been seriously critical. According to one poll, not more than one half (50%) of Americans questioned in mid 2006 supported the Israeli attack on Lebanon (www.pipa.org), and most blamed Israel (as well as Hezbollah) for provoking further violence. A majority felt “Israel’s military campaign” had “gone too far.” A poll printed by the Los Angeles Times also showed an even split in public attitudes, as 43% saw Israel’s invasion and bombing as “justified,” as opposed to 44% who felt it was either “justified but excessively harsh” or “unjustified.”

    Even the New York Times piece mentioned above claiming strong U.S. support for Israel after 9/11 found that just 50% of Americans sympathized with Israel (and that number had previously stood at only 45%). Such numbers are evidence of a strong schism in American public opinion toward Israel, rather than proof of “strong” or “majority” support.

    Other surveys have found similar divisions and uncertainty. A Pew Research Center poll found that US sympathy for Israel ranged between 37% and 48% from late 1997 through mid 2005. A more recent study in 2006 found a divide amongst those who considered themselves either “supporters” or “strong supporters” of Israel (45%) and those who supported neither Israelis or Palestinians (40%).

    If 40-50% sympathy levels for Israel is deemed serious evidence of “strong” public support, then surely similarly critical percentages suggest major reservations regarding unconditional aid to Israel. One poll conducted in November 2005 found that nearly 4 in 10 Americans (39%) felt that U.S. support for Israel is a “major reason that people around the world are unhappy with the U.S.” Seventy-one percent of Americans questioned in 2002 felt that the United States should take “neither side” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Surveys from a longer time period (1998-2006) find the same results: depending upon the year in question, between 52% and 78% of Americans feel that the U.S. should take neither the Palestinians or Israelis side in the conflict. This is a radical departure from U.S. foreign policy, which demonizes Palestinian leadership as either participating in, or enabling terrorism, while portraying Israeli leaders as heroically resisting a siege initiated by neighboring Arabs and Muslims.

    Many are also extremely skeptical of increasing foreign aid. Polls consistently show that Americans oppose increasing aid to Israel. In light of the 2003 Iraq war, 57% of Americans opposed a proposed $12 billion aid package for Israel (as opposed to only 29% who supported it). Another survey from 2001 found that 52% of Americans felt the $2.8 billion received in aid by Israel each year was “too much.”

    Studies also show that a majority of Americans favor a negotiated peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. This is significant, since such support stands in marked contrast to the rejectionist positions of American and Israeli leaders, who have escalated the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, are responsible for the vast majority of the civilian deaths in the conflict, and have consistently opposed a two-state solution including the formation of a sovereign Palestine and an end to the illegal 40 year occupation.

    Public support for negotiations again stands in opposition to the official government stance when we look at the issue of aid to Palestinians. While supporters of Israel have long cited polls showing that Americans favor aid to Israel over Palestinians, this is a misleading portrayal. Recent surveys (from 2001 and 2002) show that between 57% and 62% of Americans feel that the U.S. should “equalize aid” between Israelis and Palestinians “if the Palestinians come to terms with Israel in a peace agreement.” One would expect American leaders (at least those with even a minimal commitment to democracy) to have moved toward equalizing aid long ago, considering that Palestinian leaders from Fatah have recognized the state of Israel for over 15 years, and have engaged in negotiations for as long. Unfortunately, American political elites have long preferred to ignore the public’s will, relying on vulgar vilifications that single out the Palestinians for obstructing peace without exacting serious demands on Israeli leaders.

    In the case of the election of Hamas to political power in Palestine, one might very well expect that the American public would oppose equalizing aid, even in light of negotiations. This may very well be true, but it hardly justifies further political contempt for American public opinion concerning prospects for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. A 2006 Gallup poll found that 66% of Americans favored conducting diplomatic relations with Hamas if it recognizes Israel. This is contrary to the views of American political leaders, who insist that Fatah and Israeli leaders declare war on Hamas in order to wipe the democratically elected organization off the political map, rather than pursuing a negotiated settlement.

    Exploring the gulf between American public and elite opinion is not meant to suggest that the American people’s perceptions are always correct when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East. Nothing could be further from the truth. Much of the American public has fallen victim to racist stereotypes directed against Arabs and Muslims that are common in media commentary and mainstream political rhetoric. According to one 2004 study, 72% of Americans agreed with the statement that “the Palestinians have been indoctrinated by a generation of anti-Israel and anti-American propaganda; they are teching their children to hate Americans and Jews and to become terrorists.” Similarly, 81% of respondents agreed that “there cannot be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinians stop teaching their children to become terrorists and to hate Israel and America.” While such clearly loaded and irresponsible polling questions (pursued by the pro-Israeli, Zionist “Israel Project”) are enough to make any respectable social scientsists cringe, the fact that large majorities agreed with them is a disturbing revelation in-and-of-itself.

    While the American public has often fallen victim to vicious and incendiary attacks against the Palestinian people, it is precisely those misperceptions that activists should be committed to challenging and defeating. If one thing is certain, there is clearly more room for changing perceptions amongst the general American public than there is amongst those American elite who shamelessly and stubbornly support Israel while ruthlessly suppressing its critics. The only hope for a just peace in the Middle East lies with the average American, not with America’s political elite.

    Ref: Counterpunch, by Anthony DiMaggio

    Anthony DiMaggio has taught Middle East Politics and American Government at Illinois State University. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Mass Media, Mass Propaganda: Examining American News in the “War on Terror” (forthcoming December 2007). He can be reached at adimag2@uic.edu